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Student debt hinders millennial homeownership

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New Fed study estimates 400,000 more young adults would be homeowners, if not for student debt burdens


A new study by the Federal Reserve further quantifies what many millennials and mortgage lenders have long suspected: rising student debt burdens have significantly hampered homeownership among today’s young adults. Avocado toast, however, was not found to have a noteworthy impact.

The study found that 20 percent of the drop in homeownership among this age group can be attributed to student loan debt. Researchers concluded that 400,000 more young adults would have owned homes in 2014 if they didn’t have to deal with rising debt burdens.

According to a Bloomberg report about the research, 36 percent of households between 24 and 32 owned homes in 2014, a drop from 2005, when 45 of that demographic owned homes. During the same period of time, student debt doubled, from $5,000 to $10,000.

Researchers Alvaro Mezza, Daniel Ringo, and Kamila Sommer also noted that decreasing homeownership rates weren’t the only casualty of the rising cost of college tuition. Taking on a higher student loan burden lowers credit scores later in life, which makes the access to and cost of credit for everything from car loans to credit cards more challenging.